1 capoletto con arme braccia 9

1 panno lino capoletto dipinto e storiato

In a Florentine household inventory from 1391, we find a large chest with two clasps or locks (1 cassone a due serrame) located in the entryway of a house belonging to the estate of Allexandro dell'Antella. Several treasured items were stored in the chest, among them two capoletti or decorative fabric panels (singular, capoletto) which would presumably have been affixed at the head (capo) of the bed (letto) for decorative purposes. Capoletti might also be understood more generally as tapestries, with the smaller versions used as home decor or wall hangings and the larger ones, stretching from floor to ceiling, as room dividers. The first of the two capoletti found in the chest (1 capoletto con arme braccia 9) measured 9 arm-lengths in one direction, though without a second measurement we are unable to get a sense of its overall size. It was, however, emblazoned with a coat of arms—presumably that of the dell'Antella household (whose home still stands in Florence's Santa Croce neighborhood, as seen in the photo above). In Florentine inventories, items with family crests or coats of arms appeared frequently, as their imprint on fabrics and other household goods added a personalized touch to home furnishings like the decorative capoletto. The second capoletto listed (1 panno lino capoletto dipinto e storiato), was probably made of linen and was described as both painted (dipinto) and historiated (storiato). This may therefore have resembled a large canvas on which figures were painted rather than a cloth panel where images had been woven in. Items found alongside the two capoletti included expensive articles of clothing as well as several books and business ledgers.

For more on the capoletto, see Attilio Schiaparelli. “Cappoletti.” In La Casa Fiorentina e i suoi arredi nei secoli XIV e XV. 1:197-201. Florence: G.C. Sansoni, 1908.